BATON ROUGE -- Jeffery Taylor scored 20 points and No. 18 Vanderbilt outscored LSU 49-26 in the second half for a comfortable 90-69 victory Saturday.
John Jenkins overcame a slow start to finish with 17 points for Vanderbilt (21-7, 9-5 Southeastern Conference), which bounced back from its first loss in six games last Tuesday against state rival Tennessee.
Vanderbilt, which shot 54.4 percent (31 of 57), trailed 43-41 at halftime but surged into the lead for good early in the second half with a 14-0 run during which Taylor dunked twice and hit two free throws.
Andre Stringer scored 10 points for the Tigers, who on Wednesday had snapped a 10-game losing streak with a victory at Mississippi State.
A strong first half put LSU in position to make it two straight wins, but the Tigers wound up looking overmatched by the Commodores, who had five players in double figures, including Lance Gilbourne and Brad Tinsley with 16 each and Festus Ezeli with 15.
Double-digit scoring is the norm for all Vandy starters but Gilbourne, who came in averaging 6.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. He easily eclipsed both averages against LSU, grabbing a season-high 17 rebounds.
Taylor, meanwhile, made his first six field goals. Four were dunks, including a soaring double-pump two-hander on a baseline drive, but he also hit a 3 and a turnaround fade from the baseline as he was fouled.
He didn't miss until 5 minutes remained and finished 6 of 8, along with 7 of 12 on free throws.
Both teams shot better than 57 percent in a first half loaded with offensive highlights.
Turner gave LSU the early edge when he hit three perimeter jumpers, one from 3-point range, during an 11-0 run that put the Tigers on top 20-13.
Vandy fought back to grab a 28-26 lead on a 5-0 spurt the included Gilbourne's 3 and Taylor's fast-break dunk that was set up by Stringer's turnover.
Turner, who had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half, gave LSU the lead right back with a 3, then Warren followed with a short jumper and a dunk, both set up by Chris Bass, who had five assists in the half.
Warren, who had 18 points in the first half, helped LSU go ahead 43-40 with his short bank shot and a heady assist on a jump pass to Garrett Green under the basket.
LSU opened the second half with Stringer's tough one-handed driving floater off the glass to go up 45-41, but the Tigers would not score again for the next 4-plus minutes when Vanderbilt, as expected, finally began to assert its dominance.
LSU vs. Vanderbilt
February 26, 2011
HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"The only disappointing thing from my standpoint is there was a six minute period with 15 to go in the second half, we didn't start the second half very well from a standpoint of our intensity, but we had three open shots, we had a pick and roll situation where Malcolm [White] drops the ball, Andre [Stringer] comes off a stagger wide open jump shot and didn't hit it. Then the roof sort of caved in and I didn't think we were very, very competitive and that's where things sort of fell apart. All that being said, Vanderbilt is really good. It reminds me of some of the teams I've been affiliated with and coached when I was in Palo Alto; smart, tough, and disciplined. They played very well the last time out versus Tennessee. As much as you should be talking about our team, my team, no. I'm talking about Vanderbilt. The bottom line for us is, you look at the stat sheet. We're 28 out of 67 [shooting]. In the first half, we shot the ball probably as good as we have all year. Our assist to turnover ratio in the first half was 12 to four. We had 15 [assists] and 11 [turnovers]. Storm [Warren] played really well offensively. Ralston [Turner] played really well offensively. We couldn't guard them. We just couldn't guard them. We couldn't guard [Jeffrey] Taylor and couldn't guard [Brad] Tinsley. What the learning for us is at this point and time in the year, Vanderbilt is a perfect example of execution on the half court and the full court, set good, physical, hard screens, and continue to play through things. Like I said, the only disappointing thing for me was there was a six minute part where I thought we stopped competing and we got those glass looks on our faces because we didn't make shots. In the last two games offensively, we've shot the ball well. Defense is what wins games. Taking care of the ball is what wins games. Rebounding is what wins games. Until we get to the point where we can guard people, we're going to continue to struggle versus good teams, and there are a lot of good teams in this league. "
On improvements being made and if it's a reflection of Storm and Ralston being healthy...
"It's a lot. Ralston is our best player. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Storm has his legs under him, but again it goes back to the same thing I said at the start of the year. This team is only as good as all 10 or 11 of them who are playing. There are some guys you couldn't find today. Right now we don't have a guy or two that can step up and carry you offensively. We don't have a guy or two that can step up and go shut a guy down defensively, and Vanderbilt does. Andre got it going a little bit and they put Taylor on him. Ralston got it going a little bit and they took Taylor off Andre and put him on Ralston. It's a process."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
G Chris Bass
On defense in the second half ...
"There were key points in the game where we were supposed to get stops, and we just couldn't get them. A couple times, we helped. (Jeffery) Taylor is a good player, so we had to try to stop him. We have to try to get the crucial stops when we need them, and get crucial rebounds at the times that we need them. Then, we can start pulling these games out. It's going to take getting those crucial stops, defensive possessions and rebounds."
On having Storm Warren and Ralston Turner back and healthy ...
"It's great having Storm (Warren) healthy. We came in together. It's also great to have Ralston (Turner) healthy because he is a great shooter. It's not over. We have to do what we did against Mississippi State and today in the first half. In the second half, we just have to put together a key game. We have to get the key stops at the end, and get rebounds if we want to win these next two games. Hopefully, we can make a run in the SEC tournament. With having Storm and Ralston healthy, the sky is the limit."
G Ralston Turner
On Vanderbilt's three-pointers in the second half ...
"Some of the them came on a transition, and a couple of them came within the offense. It was all a matter of getting in that position on offense. We didn't pick up like we were supposed to. In the half-court defense, we were smacked by some screens, which were held too long. That's what led to those baskets."
On the story of this game ...
"The story of this game is the defensive end. Regardless of what we shot in the second half, Coach Johnson said that defense is what was going to win this game for us. That's what lost it for us."
F Storm Warren
On Vanderbilt's attitude after halftime ...
"I feel like they came in after halftime feeling like they didn't want to lose, and we didn't want to lose either. In the second half, we were just a step off. I made a couple of bad anticipation moves myself, and they capitalized and executed on that. That's why they came out on top."
On confidence going into the second half ...
"I felt like we could do it, and come out on top and win. If they keep giving us those looks, the only thing we have to do is keep taking them and knocking them down. Just take what they give you and not try to create anything. We have to just take what we are given, play within the system and everything will work out."
VANDERBILT HEAD COACH KEVIN STALLINGS
On what adjustments they made at halftime to turn the game around ...
"I just thought we became the aggressor. I talk so much about the team that's the aggressor is the team that has the advantage. We made shots and we made some threes there in a little spurt, but what changed was Lance Gouldbourne. That's what changed. Lance all of the sudden went back to being the Lance before his ankle injury and he was rebounding the ball up at the top of the square where nobody else can get to it. That was the difference for us in the game. We just played much more aggressively especially in the second half."
On the defensive effort in the second half ...
"We were much better defensively in the second half. We made the adjustment by putting Festus (Ezeli) on (Storm) Warren and he didn't bother us as much in the second half. Jeff (Taylor) was much better on (Ralston) Turner in the second half than he was in the first half. We were just alert defensively and we made some good plays. We just did things better defensively, and then because we got stops and rebounds our offense started going well and it starting working out much better for us."
On how he approached the team at halftime ..
"At halftime I was just very calm. We had one assistant that was getting after them pretty good, but at the end I just told them we'll handle it and to just go out and win this. It was a much more calm approach, but I wasn't calm in the second half. The better we played it seemed like the more irritated I got. I was getting after them in the second half but I was really proud of their effort and really proud of how we played in the second half. That's obviously what we need to do and how we need to do to be a good team."
VANDERBILT FORWARD LANCE GOULBOURNE
On if his ankle feels better ...
"About a week ago the coaches sat me down a little bit through practice. I play in the game but I didn't play much in the practice because they wanted to rest me for a little bit just to get me back health wise. I got treatment on my ankle two or three times a day, and it's been feeling great. I'm not completely 100 percent yet but I'm not going to be until probably the end of the season. It's good to have my explosion back and my speed, quickness and elevation to do the things that I do best."
On the defensive changes in the second half ...
"We went back in the locker room and coach wasn't too happy with our defensive effort. We made some defensive changes. Storm Warren and Ralston Turner were killing us so we had to get them shut down, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the second half. We made a lot of changes and I think we executed them pretty well."
On the three straight three's in a row after LSU cut the lead to three in the second half ...
"They had a little run, but very team is going to have a run in this league and we got it stopped pretty quick. We're a good team and as long as we get stops and rebounds we can get in transition and that's where we're at our best. In the open floor we have athletes that can get to rim and finish. It's going to be pretty tough to play against us in transition."